EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 400, Number 1, March II 2003
Page(s) 21 - 30
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021653

A&A 400, 21-30 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021653

The present-day chemical composition of the SMC from UVES spectra of the sharp-lined, B-type dwarf AV 304

W. R. J. Rolleston1, K. Venn2, E. Tolstoy3 and P. L. Dufton1

1  Department of Pure & Applied Physics, The Queen's University of Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK
2  University of Minnesota and Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105, USA
3  Kapteyn Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, 9700AV Groningen, The Netherlands

(Received 29 July 2002 / Accepted 12 November 2002 )

High-resolution spectroscopic VLT/UVES observations are presented for the B-type main-sequence star, AV 304, in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). These spectra have been analysed using LTE model-atmosphere techniques, to derive stellar atmospheric parameters and chemical compositions. As AV 304 is located within the hydrogen burning main-sequence band, its chemical composition should reflect that of the SMC interstellar medium (ISM). A detailed line-by-line differential analysis has been undertaken relative to a Galactic comparison star. A general metal deficiency for the $\alpha$-process elements O, Si & S of $-0.43\pm0.05$ dex is found for AV 304, with iron having a similar underabundance. Oxygen may be relatively overabundant by ~0.1 dex and carbon and aluminium underabundant by ~0.2 dex. A large nitrogen underabundance (of -1.2 dex relative to hydrogen and -0.7 dex relative to iron) is found. This is interpreted in terms of the CNO bi-cycle having been suppressed in the SMC. Furthermore, the large nitrogen deficiency is in excellent agreement with that found for SMC H II regions. Indeed, this represents a first for stellar astrophysics - confirming the low base-line nitrogen composition of the SMC ISM (viz. 12+log(N/H) ~ 6.66  $\pm$ 0.10 dex).

Key words: stars: abundances -- stars: atmospheres -- stars: early-type -- galaxies: individual: Small Magellanic Cloud

Offprint request: P. L. Dufton, P.Dufton@qub.ac.uk

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